Glass and Ceramics MA

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Course starts: 15 October 2018Apply now

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Join the university with the largest glass and ceramics department in Europe. Develop a specialism in glass or ceramics using the outstanding facilities at National Glass Centre. Establish yourself as a professional artist.

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This programme is for individuals who wish to develop both their practice and critical understanding with regards to glass and ceramics. The subject is explored and contextualized in its widest sense through both practical and theoretical investigation and application.

We do not have a ‘house style’, instead you will be encouraged and supported to develop your own focus, independent creativity, improve your technical skills through expert support, and develop academic skills in research and communication.

Why us?

  • This course is for people who want to develop a specialism in glass or ceramics, making use of the outstanding facilities at National Glass Centre in Sunderland
  • 95.8% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK postgraduate students)
  • Sunderland is a thriving research hub and hosts the Ceramics Arts Research Centre (CARCuos), which aims to develop, support and disseminate new knowledge and scholarly activity
  • During the course, we encourage you to develop your personal practice through studio work, critical studies, professional practice, research, critiques, analysis and debate
  • Graduates from Sunderland have gone on to work throughout the creative industries
  • MA graduates have extended their work through a research degree either at MPhil or PhD level and continue studies within CARCuos
  • Academic staff are engaged in professional practice or research in glass and ceramic art and design

Course structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, critiques, workshops and practical demonstrations. These are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. You will also have high levels of contact with tutors who give regular feedback and support.

We organise field trips so that you can experience international work in your field. Destinations include cities such as Prague, Berlin and New York.

Stage 1 (60 credits)

  • Contextual Studies: Critical and Professional Contexts in Contemporary Art and Design (30 credits)

Investigate some of the major terms in contemporary art and design, focus on key themes in art and design after modernism including the premises of conceptual art and postmodern practices, simulation and hyper-reality. Relate critical and professional contexts to creative strategies in order to reflect upon and evaluate your own professional practice.

  • Experimentation in Glass and Ceramics (30 credits)

Write a self-negotiated project proposal in which you describe how you intend to advance the work. Discuss your progress with teaching staff and fellow students. Reflect on how developing practice relates to historical and contemporary precedents and relevant debate in art, craft and design.

Stage 2 (60 credits)

  • Contextual Studies: Professional Practice in Glass and Ceramics (30 credits)

Gain an overview of current professional practice by artists, designers and craftspeople working in the field through a series of artist talks. Identify your ‘market’, search for funding, and develop an online presence through a live photography session and continued development of an e-portfolio.

  • Developing Practice in Glass and Ceramics (30 credits)

Develop ideas, technical skills, and knowledge of the area you are working in. Consider what ‘professionalism’ will mean in your practice including how your work should be presented and how you might market your work in the future.

Stage 3 (60 credits)

  • Contextual Studies: Research Project in Glass and Ceramics (30 credits)

Establish a field of study which enables you to situate your individual practices within wider historical, theoretical and artistic contexts. Develop a written research project articulating some of the working philosophies and critical ideas informing your practical work and submit a fully worked up and costed funding proposal.

  • Synthesis in Glass and Ceramics Practice (30 credits)

Produce a resolved body of work underpinned by evidence of a coherent and systematic approach to developing and expressing ideas in the form of drawings, sketch books, designs, scrape books of imagery, models, maquettes and practical tests, that show an in depth exploration of both content and technique.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

National Glass Centre,
Liberty Way,


  • Glass and ceramics facilities currently include:

    • A range of glass and ceramics kilns including a large gas kiln
    • Raku and kiln building area
    • Ceramics hand building, throwing, mould making and glaze workshops
    • Hot glass workshop with international-quality equipment including 2 custom furnaces and 4 gloryholes
    • Glass mould making workshop
    • fully equipped cold working studio (sandblasting, cutting, grinding and polishing)
    • Architectural and stained glass studio
    • Printing facility for glass, ceramics and other surfaces
    • 7 Lampworking stations
    • Project and exhibition space
    • Workspace for each student




    Glass and ceramics facilities
  • The Department of Glass and Ceramics is based in the National Glass Centre, a nationally recognised glass production and exhibition centre with world-class production facilities and a programme of international exhibitions and creative projects.

    Studying here puts you at the heart of an international network of professionals in the glass and ceramics sector. You will be exposed to the most modern techniques in glass and ceramics art, with access to world-class production facilities. Through the Centre’s visiting artists and designers programme, you will have the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned, high-profile artists currently working in the glass and ceramics field. You will also be given access to and the opportunity to work on cutting-edge contemporary exhibitions to help launch your career. National Glass Centre is also home to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, which has a long history of showing cutting edge contemporary art.

    National Glass Centre


Sunderland's world-class facilities allow you to develop your professionalism through access to a range of highly specialist equipment.

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold an honours degree in an art or design discipline.

We may also consider applicants who have relevant experience and who can demonstrate their suitability for the course.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.


If you are suitably qualified, we will invite you to an interview to assess whether this is the right course for you. Given the strong practical element in the course, we invite applicants to share their portfolios and creative aspirations with us at interview stage. We are eager to explore how to develop each person’s individual interests and ideas.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £6,800 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £13,200 if you are an International student

The part-time fee for this course is £377 per 10 credits.

Please note: There is an additional material fee of £200 per stage (£600 over the duration of the course). This gives you access to unlimited clay, plaster, clear sheet glass, paints, stains, enamels, glaze materials and consumables.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for roles throughout the creative industries.



Many recent Sunderland graduates are now working as independent artists with their own workshops and are successful practitioners around the world.

Some graduates have moved on to lecturing positions at universities around the world or have chosen to move into other areas, including painting, sculpture, jewellery, architecture, interior design, engineering and photography.

During the course we encourage you to gain industry experience which will enhance your skills, build up a valuable network of contacts and boost your employability. This experience can take the form of working on live commissions, entering competitions and exhibiting work in public exhibitions.

Industry links

The University has close links with arts organisations including Arts Council England, the BALTIC, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), National Association for Ceramics in Higher Education (NACHE), Equal Arts, The Biscuit Factory, Tyne and Wear Museums Service and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. We also have international links in USA, China and Czech Republic.

  • National Glass Centre has amazing facilities.
    Eileen Downs, MA Ceramics graduate case study

    Eileen Downs

  • Sunderland gave me a fantastic opportunity which has really shaped the rest of my life.
    Kathryn Wightman, Glass

    Kathryn Wightman

Meet our academics